Hero photograph
Photo by Kate Oliver

2019 has been another busy year for the thespians of Burnside High School.

Kate Oliver —

With not only coursework, but various Dramatic endeavours around Canterbury and beyond.

Drama students young and old have been honing their skills and entertaining audiences in a variety of ways.

The year started in the usual manner with two dedicated groups of senior students taking part in the Otago University Shakespeare competition. The regional this year took place at Middleton Grange and the audience reception to our presentation of the love story of Pyramus and Thisbee from” Mid-Summer Night's Dream” received a rousing applause from the audience and a student directing award for Conor Hill. Our Witches scene from” Macbeth” was also well received and this strong movement piece, which included torch light and ropes was a unique take on a scene which is often presented at the festival. 

 In a first for Burnside High School we decided to enter a scene into the New Zealand Theatrefest Competition. This is a competition which is open to not only high schools but also amatuer theatre companies. “Mother Figure” is a scene from a wider play by British playwright Alan Ackbourne. Traditionally his plays delve into the lives of middle class English citizens, this scene looked at the life of a stay at home mother, her isolation and the impact children have had on her marriage. This is all done through the lens of witty dialogue and slap- stick movement. This was the first time Burnside has entered this competition so we all felt a little nervous when we arrived at Rangi Ruru to compete. But we were met with a warm welcome and received lots of very useful critical feedback which we took on board for later performances. We were also lucky enough to be chosen to take part in the lower South Island regional final which were held in Timaru, and Molly McGinn received one of only two “Excellence in acting awards”.

Mother Figure — Image by: John Doogan

 Drama Club had another successful year. To celebrate the work they did throughout 2019 the students worked tirelessly on the play ‘The Brother’s Grimm Spectaculation’ by Don Zolidis. This was 209 fairy tales performed in about an hour! Cinderella, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretal are only some of the stories which were combined to make a fast paced extravaganza. The students dedication to the process and all the rehearsals was fantastic. They gave up many lunchtimes and even some days during the holidays to get the show up and running. Students from years 9 to 13 worked on this project, the end result was an exciting and enjoyable evening for everyone. The students had an amazing time on stage and the packed out audience really enjoyed themselves.This has been one of the major highlights for the Drama Department this year.

Drama Club — Image by: Kate Oliver

A number of Drama students past and present have also spread their wings and gain places in a number of Showbiz shows this year. We will rock you saw a strong contingent of 70 student and staff supporting Connor Hill and James-Paul Mountstevens at the Isaac Theatre Royal and later in the year we were back to watch the heartbreaking Miss Saigon which included Maya Gray, James-Paul Mountstevens ( in his fifth Showbiz show) Tara Jones and Earl Jr Sequa. A number of senior students have also completed auditions for the 2020 season for Showbiz, watch this space! The Court Theatre Youth company also held auditions for the 2020 group and next year previous student Jonty Coulson and James-Paul Mountstevens have been included in the company.

Miss Saigon

This year we had four senior performances. The first was a combined year 12 evening where scenes were performed from two plays. Confusions by Alan Aykbourne and Love and Information by Caryl Chrurchill. The students worked really hard on these performance and provide an evening of intrigue and laughter. Our Year 12s gave fantastic performances and showed great promise for next year.

Y13 Performed DNA by Dennis Kelly, this British play explores the dynamics of a group of teenage students who find themselves deeply involved in the disappearance of a fellow student. This play was performed in traverse in Aurora which was an extra challenge to the cast. It has been pleasing to see the performance development of our senior students and their dedication to performances of a high level are appreciated.

Bare by Toa Fisher — Image by: Kate Oliver
DNA by Dennis Kelly